Friday, May 30, 2008

Sex and Bondage

Friday=Charlesday!

In honor of Ian Fleming’s 100th birthday (May 28th), and in keeping in line with the current discussion, I’d like to offer the following extended quote from the master as evidence of one reason why sex in a mystery (or action-adventure pot-boiler) is so difficult:

“He found something grisly in the inevitability of the pattern of each affair. The conversational parabola—sentiment, the touch of the hand, the kiss, the passionate kiss, the feel of the body, the climax in bed, them more bed, then less bed, then the boredom, the tears, and the final bitterness—was to him shameful and hypocritical. Even more he shunned the mise-en-scène for each of these acts in the play—the meeting at the party, the restaurant, the taxi, his flat, her flat, then the week-end by the sea, the flats again, the furtive alibis and the final angry farewell on some doorstep in the rain.”1

This is great stuff and you can certainly see the Bond of the books in this description, and, yes, sexual adventures do seem to fit this pattern. But can’t this pattern be applied to just about anything, say, murder mysteries?

“He found something grisly in the inevitability of the pattern of each book. The arching plotline—a body discovered, an unlikely protagonist introduced, the tough-as-nails cop, the supportive best friend, a second body in chapter five, a third in twelve, clues, then more clues, then less clues, the ah-ha moment, the accusation, the chase, the comeuppance, the grudging handshake—was to him as boring as it was predictable.”

Maybe The Godfathers, an outstanding late 80s alt band, summed it up best:

“Birth, school, work, death.”

Finally, in honor of the legendary comedian Harvey Korman who died yesterday at 81, I close with this existentialist quote from Blazing Saddles, the film that made Korman a star. Sure, it’s not a line spoken by him, but he’s still in the movie. In the scene, the townsfolk are about to try to recreate a replica of their town on the outskirts of their town to fool the bad men (hired by Korman’s character Hedy Lamarr2) and the Reverend Johnson leads them in prayer:

“Oh Lord. Do we have the strength to carry on this mighty task in one night? Or are we just jerking off?”

Amen, brother. Amen.

1Casino Royale, Chapter 22

2 “It’s Hedley.”

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